The new oliverhaslam.com. Now 100% more static.

If you've visited this humble blog before then you're probably noticing that the site looks different and, hopefully, that it's much quicker to load. That's the idea, anyway.

To cut a long story short, this site no longer runs on a WordPress install on a web server sat in my office.

Instead, it runs on a Pelican install. On a web server. Sat in my office.

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So why should it be quicker?

Pelican, for those not interested (I'm going to tell you anyway) is a static blogging platform. Whereas WordPress keeps all your wonderfully crafted words in a big database and then generates web pages on request, what Pelican does is rather different.

A Pelican install monitors a directory - a 'posts' directory on Dropbox, in my case - and then generates the entire site's HTML each and every time a change is made. New post? The site regenerates. Change that brown bar at the top? Regenerates.

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The advantage here is that static, already built HTML files are served one request which, in theory at least, should reduce load on the lowly Ubuntu virtual machine that this blog sits on. By the way, that VM also acts as a file server and is the virtual Time Capsule that all the Macs back up to. It's pretty busy.

The other bonus is that posting to the site is just a case of creating content in Markdown, saving it to Dropbox and having the refresh script run. Pelican parses the Markdown and turns it into HTML. Magic.

I'm still feeling my way around it all, and it's meant that I've lost some functionality at least in the short term while I learn a spot of CSS and the like. Some of it might never come back, just because it was never really needed or would ruin the rather minimalist look I've got going on. That Twitter stream thing that was in the sidebar is one that won't be coming back, for example.

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I'm not going to go into major detail about Pelican, or the benefits of static blogging engines because that's been done to death already. I like it though, so it's staying.

At least for now.

The downsides? The main one is that not all the posts that I imported from WP are working, and I can't be bothered to sort out the HTML to make them work again. I've done some of the more important posts, but some might display incorrectly. Everything new from here on in will be fine, though. All the original links should carry over just fine too, so Google should be happy.

Oh, and comments are gone too. Not that anyone used them.

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